Bristol Teaching Awards

Tracy Helliwell

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, School of Education

“Tracy always provides space and time to reflect, and I know that everyone in our cohort recognises this and seeks out opportunities to discuss ambitions, challenges, concerns and successes with her…”

“…the wellbeing support that she has provided to all of us is outstanding – no question is too big or too small, and every time you speak to her she somehow makes you feel that the current conversation has her full and sincere attention.”

“Tracy has been incredibly supportive and genuinely cares about the wellbeing of myself and other members of the course over the year…”

“She empowers us both through setting a clear example of good teaching practice and recognising and celebrating the different skills each of us bring.”

What is your background and experience? I have been a teacher since 2002. I taught mathematics in secondary schools in and around Bristol for 13 years before coming to work at the university. Teaching always involves an element of tutoring, I don’t see the two roles as being distinct. I now teach teachers how to teach, which includes how to be a tutor. My hope is that I am able to support students in becoming the tutors they want to become.

Your style of working and ethos? For me, the most important aspect of tutoring has been learning to attend to others, so I do my best to provide a space where students can talk, to me and to one another, about whatever happens to be on their minds at that point in time. Students want to share their successes, as well as their concerns. I try not to pretend I have the answers, because I really don’t, but I do my best to listen. I want the students to develop strong relationships with one another, since these are often the relationships that will continue way beyond their time at university. For this reason, I work really hard, especially at the beginning for the year, to support the students in establishing themselves as a group.

What do you enjoy about the role? I enjoy being with and getting to know people, and I enjoy observing people learn and develop.  

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